Ray Yoder visited his 645th Cracker Barrel Old Country Store on Monday, meaning he has now been to every Cracker Barrel in the country.
Hungry customers will soon be able to drink a mimosa with a Sunrise Sampler and a beer with an order of country fried steak in nearly all Cracker Barrel restaurants in the country.
Sandra Cochran, the president and CEO of the Southern-style food chain headquartered in Lebanon, Tennessee, announced the expansion of alcohol sales to more stores during a fourth quarter earnings call with investors.
“We’ll be introducing the beer and wine program to the majority of our system in fiscal ’21 and we expect it to be in approximately 600 stores by the end of the fiscal year,” Cochran said. “I remain excited about this initiative and in addition to the financial benefits, we believe these offerings support the guest experience by providing additional variety.”
Cracker Barrel, which now has more than 650 stores in 45 states, began testing limited beer and wine offerings in Florida prior to the coronavirus pandemic. But the testing came to a brief halt as the pandemic shut down dining rooms across the country.
Currently, beer and wine are available in about 100 Cracker Barrel stores, Cochran said. About 20 of those are in Tennessee and the rest are concentrated in Florida and Kentucky, she said.
“The performance of this initiative has been in line with our expectations,” Cochran said. “While it is mostly targeted in enhancing the dinner day part, our mimosas have proven to be quite popular in the breakfast and lunch day parts,” Cochran said.
The online menu for one Tennessee-based store offers individual mimosas as well as drink kits for two and four people. They come in three flavors: orange, peach and strawberry. Cochran said a new seasonal flavor is expected soon in Florida locations.
The beer offerings include Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Angry Orchard and Twisted Tea. The wine includes Sutter Home’s moscato, chardonnay, merlot and cabernet sauvignon as well as Gambino sparkling wine.
“Overall, we’re pleased,” Cochran said. “We have not yet really started to promote it, but I’m encouraged with how strong it’s continued to be, especially in Florida where we’ve had it the longest.”
The expansion will be rolled out to stores in Indiana, Mississippi and Virginia next, she said.
“The cadence is dependent to some, to a large degree on the licensing requirements in the communities we’re in and to what degree we can move through that. So that’s how the rollout will go. It’s difficult to predict,” Cochran said. “We’re doing it as quickly as we can.”
Reach Holly Meyer at email@example.com or 615-259-8241 and on Twitter @HollyAMeyer.
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